Study finds low level of Maori internet use

The lowest proportion of internet users shows up in smaller towns

AUT University’s Professor Allan Bell, reporting New Zealand statistics from the World Internet Project (WIP), says younger people and those identifying as Asian are the groups with the highest proportion of internet users.

Maori have a low proportion of internet use and this is possibly partly owing to income levels, as internet use is also “slightly” biased towards the more highly paid, Bell says.

By region, the lowest proportion of internet users shows up in smaller towns. Rural users, despite complaints of poor service, register fairly high use, though not as high as people in the main centres.

Thirteen percent of New Zealanders say they have their own website and 10% keep a blog, though Bell acknowledges some users whose only web presence is on social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo are likely to have answered “yes” to this question. Fuzziness and definition issues emerge as a possible problem of the local survey; for instance, more than 20% of the 1,500-person sample said they had accessed the internet “through mobile phone or a wireless connection” but Bell admits that some users with a wireless router at home connecting to a wired service may have said yes to this question as well.

Most New Zealand households with people under 18 report they have rules limiting internet use, but “more parents than children say there are rules,” Bell reports.

Asked “if you lost the internet tomorrow what effect would it have?”, just over half of local users said it would be a problem, with a noticeably higher proportion of the Asian population giving that answer.

Most New Zealand internet users have looked up information on government websites at least once, but only 13% have heard of the government’s digital strategy, according to the survey.

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